Photo: Sperreau (Wikipedia)
Joseph Bodin de Boismortier lived a life of fame and luxury in 18th century France without ever holding an official post. From the time he moved to Paris in about 1723 until his death in 1755 he had a royal privilege to engrave and publish his own works. His vocal works combine agreeable melodies with virtuoso vocal writing in the Italian style that was all the rage. Boismortier’s instrumental music, always pleasant and skillfully mingling Italian and French elements, was eminently accessible technically to amateur players. He composed for unusual combinations of instruments, such as five flutes, or two bassons and four flutes, and for instruments that were fashionable, such as the musette and hurdy-gurdy. Thus was Boismortier able to enjoy a very comfortable existence as a prolific and popular composer.
L’Ensemble Portique‘s name is taken from a sculpture that is a visual representation of the independence and interdependence of the music worlds of early and contemporary music. On this 2011 Centaur recording, they explore trio sonatas and concerti of Boismortier using varying combinations of recorder, violin, cello, viola da gamba and harpsichord. Let’s hear an excerpt from his Opus 37 sonatas for one melody instrument and two basses, played on recorder, viola da gamba and harpsichord.